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Norman John AINSWORTH (1894-1986)

Biographical Details

Lieutenant Norman John Ainsworth, MC (1894-1986), was a colleague of Cyril Sladden in the 9th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment.

Norman Ainsworth was born on 15th July 1894, the youngest of six children of William John Ainsworth, an auctioneer and estate agent, and his wife, Lydia Lucy. On leaving school, Norman trained as a dentist at The University of London where he was a member of the Officer Training Corps. He then worked at the Middlesex Hospital and Royal Dental Hospital.

During the First World War, Ainsworth was gazetted as a 2nd Lieutenant from 10th November 1915 in the Worcestershire Regiment.

A letter written by Cyril Sladden on 31st January 1917 reveals that Ainsworth was the Lewis Gun officer and that, during battle in the Kut region: “Ainsworth, the Lewis Gun officer, crawled back most of the way bringing a gun with him and not injured though pretty well done up.” For this act of bravery, 2nd Lieutenant (acting Captain) Ainsworth was awarded the Military Cross on 25th August 1917: “For distinguished service in the field in Mesopotamia.” On 2nd September 1917, just after the announcement of the award, Cyril wrote: “Ainsworth’s award will be probably for Jan 25th when as Lewis Gun officer he went over in the original attack in the morning, and was the last whole man to return after dusk at night, dragging a gun back with him. But he took an active part in every bit of fighting we had and only got a slight wound in the last of all which did not send him to ambulance. He is at his best in a tight corner.”

Ainsworth appears to have been a keen photographer as, in a letter of 28th August, Cyril revealed that Ainsworth had given him some snapshots: “I have got a few old snapshots that Ainsworth was good enough to give me. He used to be in my company in Amara days. He bore a sort of charmed life all through the winter and spring, and only got an insignificant scratch in the last show we were in although he was in the thick of almost any scrap we had. He has a most interesting collection.”

He remained in Mesopotamia until July 1918 until being invalided out.

After the war, Ainsworth married Dorothy Grace Forsell and they had two children, Elizabeth and John. Dorothy died at the beginning of 1945. Norman married for a second time, in January 1950, to Frances Pauline Gordon-Duff; they had one son.

Norman Ainsworth died aged 91 on 24th May 1986 at Manor Farm House, Driffield, Cirencester. His widow, Frances, died in 1994.

Letters mentioning this person: